RantZ and RaveZ - We have seen TV news reports of groups of young thugs and robbers caravanning in business areas and swarming into high-end retail stores in various cities across California and other communities.
From the Grove adjacent to the World - Famous Farmer’s Market to the Nordstrom’s Department store in the San Fernando Valley and high-end stores in Beverly Hills to other popular locations in communities in and around San Francisco. The aggressive thugs arrive in large groups and swarm popular businesses and steal various items including expensive purses and clothing. At a Home Depot they stole hammers and other items used to break into other stores with expensive merchandise. Officers from the Beverly Hills Police Department recently arrested possible suspects as they entered Beverly Hills with tools used to break into businesses. The activity is increasing as we approach the Christmas Season.
At an attack at the Nordstrom in Canoga Park, one of the robbers sprayed Bear Spray on the uniformed armed security officer and walked away with a load of expensive purses and clothing totaling thousands of dollars.
I met with the officer a day after the robbery and was told that he was unable to initiate any action against the suspects since he was immediately blinded by the Bear Spray. He was grateful that he did not lose his gun in the process of the robbery.
These cases are not classified as common theft which carries minimal punishment by the law. They are classified as Robbery since force and fear are generated by the aggressive and hostile actions of the suspects. A Robbery charge can bring significant state prison time to the accused if convicted. That is if the District Attorney does his job in charging the most serious crimes. We will see what L.A. District Attorney George Gascon decided to do with the suspects that have been arrested in the recent cases.
As the crime wave continues, keep in mind that it was a few months ago when Mayor Garcetti called police officers “Killers” and members of the Los Angeles City Council, other than John Lee and Joe Buscaino, voted to defund the LAPD millions of dollars. A foolish motion by the majority of the City Council elected to represent all people in Los Angeles and provide security and a quality of life for all residents, business, and guests visiting L.A. When I think about it, what would you expect from a city with one councilman recently sent to Federal Prison for corruption and another councilmember facing a trial for corruption and yet another seasoned councilmember recently indicted for corruption and waiting for trial. To add to the poor and corrupt leadership by some in Los Angeles politics, Councilman Bonin from the westside is currently facing a recall election while two other recall actions against current councilmembers have not been successful in generating sufficient signatures. Not what you would expect from elected officials who have a very comfortable compensation package and many perks. You would think the people of Los Angeles would elect more ethical individuals to political office to represent them and their interests. Something to consider at election time next year.
Update on the LA Citywide Crime Profile
The following Citywide Crime Profile covers up to November 20, 2021. Comparing year to dates 2019 to 2021 for all categories.
--Homicide is + 45%.
--Motor Vehicle Theft is +52.7%
--Shots Fired is +55.9%
--Shooting Victims is +53.3%
Total all arrests are down -27.4%.
As you can see from the official LAPD Stats that more people are being shot and killed in Los Angeles. More are dying from their injuries and more vehicles are being stolen and arrests in all categories are down.
The Headline says it all….”Crime on L.A. trains, buses rises as riders return: Poor people are suffering the most.”
Is it that they don’t care about your safety or are they not aware of the reality of riding on the public transit system in Los Angeles? The Metro Transportation Authority’s 14 - member Public Safety Advisory Committee Board of Directors, responsible for public transit operations in the greater L.A. region voted to cancel the public safety contract with the LAPD, Sheriff’s, and Long Beach Police Departments; and replace the current security force with Transit Ambassadors. Transit Ambassadors are not members of law enforcement and would need to call police to respond to emergencies. Is it worth the risk to you and your family to reduce the already limited presence of law enforcement on the Metro’s public transit lines?
I know from personal experience that the Orange Line, Red and other public transit lines in the greater L.A. region have become common places for the criminal element to travel around without paying and at the same time causing problems at various locations. From my perspective as an occasional Metro rider, it is a foolish and dangerous move to remove Law Enforcement personnel from the Metro Transit Lines. I know there have been reported murders on Metro Transit Lines…….
(Dennis P. Zine is the author of RantZ and RaveZ. The column runs twice a month to bring you a view of the ups and downs in and around Los Angeles from a combined 54 years of law enforcement and 14 years of elected public official’s perspective.)